Sunday, November 30, 2008

Your Black World: Strategies For Overcoming The Holiday Blues

Strategies For Overcoming The Holiday Blues
By: Dr. Gloria Morrow
Reprinted From Black News

Upland, CA ( - The holiday season can be the loneliest time of the year, especially during the month of December. Even though the research refutes the notion that the highest rate of suicides occurs in the month of December, many people do experience the Holiday Blues because of the loss of a loved one, exhaustion, separation from family and close friends, feelings of failure due to unmet goals and expectations, significant changes and increased stress. Some may even experience the Holiday Blues because they cannot afford to go Christmas shopping.

This year has been particularly difficult for many people in the African American community because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the massive loss of life, property, jobs, and familiar surroundings. Therefore, it may be harder for people to handle the stress of such events, especially around the holidays. The war in Iraq has also caused many families to be separated from loved ones either through death or distance at this time of the year. However, our communities have not been sufficiently insulated from violence, unemployment, and the high homeless and poverty rates that make celebrating during the holiday season less feasible. Even the recent execution of Stanley Tookie Williams has cast a negative spin on the true meaning and essence of Christmas. Unfortunately, these tragic realities of the year 2005 may make people more at risk of experiencing the Holiday Blues and more chronic mental health problems, especially if they are already vulnerable.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, there are a number of signs and symptoms that signal the presence of the Holiday Blues, such as: headaches, inability to sleep or sleeping too much, changes in appetite causing weight loss or gain, agitation and anxiety, excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt, diminished ability to think clearly or concentrate, and decreased interest in activities that usually bring pleasure. If these symptoms persist, however, one may be experiencing a depressive disorder.

There are several strategies that may be useful in overcoming the Holiday Blues:

* Acknowledge your pain and do not suffer in silence.
* Connect with a good support system.
* Connect to your spiritual source.
* Forgive yourself and others for the mistakes of the past.
* Do not focus on what went wrong, rather focus on what went right.
* Set realistic goals and expectations for the coming year.

If your life has been shaken up this year, create a new way of celebrating the holidays, but do not forget the real reason for the season. Do something special for yourself that will not cause financial strain, such as take a long hot bubble bath.

Do something for others, such as volunteer time at a shelter, hospital, church, nursing home, or senior center. Be sure to maintain a healthy diet and get sufficient rest and exercise. If symptoms continue to persist, seek the consultation of a professional mental health professional to assist you during this critical time.

Dr. Gloria Morrow is a licensed clinical psychologist (Psy. 18135) in private practice in Upland, California. She is the author of Too Broken to be Fixed? A Spiritual Guide to Inner Healing; Strengthening the Ties that Bind: A Guide to a Healthy Marriage; Keeping it Real! 7 Steps Toward a Healthier You; and Suffer in Silence No More, an educational DVD about depression. Dr. Morrow's latest book, The Things that Make Men Cry, is scheduled for release in the near future.

Please visit Dr. Morrow's website at or call (909) 985-3773 for additional information or to book interviews and/or speaking engagements.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why the government wants you to be confident

Dr. Boyce Watkins

If you wish to see a video explaining consumer confidence, which is one of the driving issues behind the recent moves in the stock market, please click here.

This has been an interesting week, with auto execs showing up on private jets to request a bailout from the government and the Dow moving to below 8,000 points for the first time in 5 years. I still hold to the fact that this is a great time to get into the stock market if one has never done so before, especially if you are under the age of 50. By the way - please visit our sponsor, if you are interested in hiring a top notch African American speaker or seeking to become one.

Take care!
Boyce Watkins
Click here to join our money advice list.

If you listen carefully to the words of Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson and Ben “Big Ben” Bernanke (chairman of the Federal Reserve) you might notice a trend in their language. The word “confidence” is used a lot when they speak. Many of their monetary proposals are not necessarily valuable for their financial power, but also for their psychological power.

Some of you may wonder what confidence has to do with anything. After all, if you’re broke, confidence doesn’t exactly put money in your pocket. If you’re 100 pounds overweight, confidence won’t help you win the Olympic 100 meter dash. When you are flying on a crashing plane, confidence doesn’t keep the plane from slamming into the ground. But confidence is important to an economy, and one of the most significant drivers of economic growth. In fact, over confidence has driven US economic growth for the past 10 years. Here are some reasons that confidence matters in the minds of Hank and Big Ben:

1) Confident consumers spend money

If you think you might lose your job next year, are you going to max out your credit cards? I certainly hope not. If you are worried about being able to make ends meet, are you going to buy that big screen TV? Not unless you want your wife to leave you. So, even if it doesn’t hold any truth, the mere forecast of a weak economy is enough to make many Americans hold off on consumer spending, one of the great driving forces of the American financial system.

2) Confident companies invest money and hire workers

Investments involve risk. Your hunch may work out, and it may not. If you don’t believe the economy is getting better, you are not going to consider taking that risk. No one plans to go to the beach if the weather man says that it’s going to rain. When economic rain is in the forecast, companies pull out their umbrellas and hold off on new projects. This reduces the number of jobs in the economy, because nearly every job created in America is the result of someone making an investment.

3) Confident Americans do not take their money out of banks

In case you didn’t know, your bank does not have your money. Your money is part of a large base of financial capital that is loaned out to individuals and consumers seeking to get a good return on their investment. So, without investing, your bank would have no interest in paying you any interest at all. So if, say, 30% of all customers of the same bank decide to get their money out at the same time, the bank would have serious financial problems. It is a lack of confidence that could cause customers to “run” on their bank and take out their money.

4) Confident investors keep their money in the stock market

The stock market is a place where fortunes are made and lost. Some part of that fortune is psychological, given that no asset can have a value which exceeds that which someone is willing to pay for it. When investors lose confidence, they take their money out of the stock market, and reductions in demand for stocks lead to massive paper losses in the market. Additionally, most Americans are “momentum traders”, meaning that when the market goes up, they tend to buy more, and when it goes down, they tend to sell. History shows that it is actually the opposite approach that tends to work best.

5) Confident banks make loans

Banks have to keep a certain portion of their funds on hand at all times to meet federal requirements. If they are fearful that their customers might come and demand their cash, they hold onto their capital to ensure that it is available. If they are afraid that their borrowing customers will not be able to repay loans due to a weak economy, they also hold back on issuing new loans. The truth is that when economic forecasts are grim, conservative bankers become even more fearful than the rest of us.

The bottom line of this article is that confidence matters. So, the next time you hear Ben Bernanke give a speech, you can be confident that he is going to use language that makes you feel more secure. Whether you choose to believe those words is up to you.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University. He does regular commentary in national media, including CNN, BET, ESPN and CBS. For more information, please visit To join our money list, please click here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Your Black World: "Is Our Children Learning?"

Stupid American Videos or "Is Our Children Learning?"
By: Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD

Reprinted From Black Commentator

But we are unbelievably ignorant concerning what goes on in our country - to say nothing of what does on in the rest of the world - and appear to have become too timid to question what we are told.

- James Baldwin, Nothing Personal

History as record embraces the monuments, documents, and symbols which provide such knowledge as we have or can find respecting past actuality. But it is history as thought, not as actuality, record, or specific knowledge, that is really meant when the term history is used in its widest and most general significance. It is thought about past actuality, instructed and delimited by history as record and knowledge - record and knowledge authenticated by criticism and ordered with the help of the scientific method. This is the final, positive, inescapable definition. It contains all the exactness that is possible and all the bewildering problems inherent in the nature of thought and the relation of the thinker to the thing thought about. Charles A. Beard, Written History As an Act of Faith.

In the U.S., the rulers dishonor the human intellect. Scammers and schemers - they are non-thinkers. The “war” on King George’s mind symbolizes the extent to which this nation-state is committed to destruction and death. The rulers employ non-thinkers to produce slogans, and the politicians memorize and recite them. It’s better to install politicians who have memorized the slogans and recite them.

Meanwhile, corporate media teaches: Freedom is stupidity. Stupidity is honorable. Feed the body. Adorn the body. Above all look sexy for the eyes of others. Rank high in the sexy category, the only category outside the Forbes list of Most Wealthiest Americans that matters. Hit the lotto jackpot one day and maybe you too can be among the most valued American citizens. The wealthy and the pseudo-intellectual (non-thinker) are the elite.

Americans of all shades are taught to HATE the intellect!
Fascists fear the intellect!
Thinking is not welcomed here.

The intellect will be uncomfortable in this environment.
So we have the You Tube “Stupid American” videos.
A friend from Ethiopia, currently living in Canada, told me about these videos.
The You Tube videos are all the rave elsewhere.

Viewing these videos gave me an excuse for spending time on You Tube. It’s about culture, I said to myself. In fact, it is about the American culture. Since so many Americans have never read Whitman or Hemingway or Morrison. Many have limited knowledge of Frederick Douglass, Cesar Chavez, or Sitting Bull. Since most don’t read and have never read a novel and others can’t tell the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Of the 158 countries in the United Nations, writers Morris Berman, the U.S. ranks “forty-ninth in literacy.” 60 percent of the American adult population “has never read a book of any kind, and only 6 percent reads as much as one book a year, where a book is defined to include Harlequin romances and self-help manuals.” Berman’s research also discovered that 120 Americans are illiterate or “read at no better than a fifth-grade level.” It’s no wonder that most American citizens can’t tell the difference between thinking and non-thinking.

For most Americans, American culture is McDonald or Nike.

This attack on thinking is political. It is about the freedom to revel in stupidity - the American way! And by doing so, the rulers accomplish the dissolving or denigration of the American culture. These Anglo-American rulers manage and bankroll what comes to stand for the “American culture,” a culture limited to smelling itself until its own Self comes to represent the whole humanity. It is Narcissus in love with his white image. For the rulers, it keeps the American citizenry busy with its Self, that is, this image of itself as “superior.”

And the world is laughing at this figure.

Among the You Tube videos showing Americans struggling to provide answers to general knowledge questions are a series called “Stupid Americans” in which two young Australians ask simple questions of average Americans:

In terms of the “War on Terror,” what country should the U.S. invaded next?


“-France! They didn’t support the war!”

They were shown a world map. When asked to place pins on these European countries, the two American citizens, the one who answered “Italy” and the other who answered “France,” placed the pins on a clearly marked country of Australia.

For the woman who answered “Sri Lanka,” again, the pin was placed on Australia.

“Kofi Anon is a drink: True or False?”
-A coffee!
-A law firm!

Tony Blair is “an actor.”
-Perhaps “Linda Blair’s brother.”

“What are the countries in the ‘Axis of Evil’?”
-I know Germany is one of them.
-Fella with the turban head. I call a diaper head.

“Who was the first man on the moon?”
-John Glenn.

“What is a mosque?”
-An animal.

“How many kidneys does a person have?”

“How many world wars have there been?”

Stars Wars, the film, is based on a true story?

Shown a picture of the Eiffel Tower, a Black woman said it’s located on the West Bank. Another person said it’s in New York.
And the Taj Mahal is in Australia too.
“Oh, Okay.”

And there are several Eiffel Towers!
“Oh, Okay.”

And the original Mount Rushmore is in Australia!!
“Oh, Okay.”

The Leaning Tower of Pizza moved from Italy to Australia, according to white American citizen.

Nagasaki and Hiroshima, for one American man, are known for Judo wrestling.

The president of Al Queda is Yassir Arafat.

The main religion of Israel is “Muslim.” But another American citizen said it was “Israeli.”

“What country starts with the letter ‘U’?”

-Fidel Castro is now a “singer”!

Further evidence of a politically induced stupidity from the top down (but perhaps not so funny) is witnessed in the need for the sick and elderly to travel, if possible, to the Canadian border to purchase prescription drugs at reasonable prices.

Or witness the acceptance of an economic system that depends on average Americans spending money they don’t have rather than saving the money.

Or witness the rulers, year after year, stealing the resources and funds of others while practicing suppressing dissent and then brags about its wealth and dominance and “hard working” Americans.

Or witness the rise in economic inequality since 2000. According to a United Nations Report, major cities (New Orleans, New York, Washington D.C., for example) rival cities in Africa in terms of income disparity, health care, and living standards.

Or witness the insistence that the young American, distinct from an older “civil rights era” Black or White, has no issue with race! At what educational institution has the young white student had the history of U.S. violence (genocide and slavery) present to them in ways in which they could confront, engage, and then begin to transcend the issue of race? The playing field is not level, and whites and Blacks are without a sense of history, lacking the knowledge in which to compare, let along analyze intelligently and without fear, the role white privilege still plays in the political, cultural, and social spheres of our lives. The young are taught to solve a problem by denying it or ignoring it. The young, particularly the young white generations, learn to “play stupid” when it come to race.

This and more is evident of the reign of stupidity and indifference. And it really isn’t funny!

“How precarious real intelligence is in the world of Oprah & Chopra, in a world where the dumb and the titillating have become the standard of value!” writes Berman.

The expression “dumbing down” means just that. This so-called democratization is not an attempt to get the less able to stretch themselves a bit; rather, it is a reduction of everything to the lowest common denominator and the regarding of that as some kind of political triumph.

Say the word “patriotic” or “terrorist,” point to any country outside the U.S. border, create a narrative justifying violence, and the collective begins its chant “kill, kill, kill”, without thought. They don’t need to know what they don’t need to know.

Fascism becomes the norm.

Journalist Chris Hedges recalls a conversation with his professor years ago, in which his professor spoke of the complicity of the media and institutions of higher education in the formation of a fascist state. Hedges writes:

His [Professor James Luther Adams] critique of the prominent research universities, along with the media, was no less withering. These institutions, self-absorbed, compromised by their close relationship with government and corporations, given enough of the pie to be complacent, were unwilling to deal with the fundamental moral questions and inequities of the age. They had no stomach for a battle that might cost them their prestige and comfort. He told me that if the Nazis took over America ‘60 percent of the Harvard faculty would begin their lectures with the Nazi salute.’ This too was not an abstraction. He had watched academics at the University of Heidelberg, including the philosopher Martin Heidegger, raise their arms stiffly to students before class.

We are already witnessing the corruption of media and other institutions as they adjust the truth to comply with the goals of a neo-fascist state here in the U.S.

Narcissus as a studious “intellectual” academic, politician, lawyer, journalist, consultant, lobbyist is intense, but he is intensely focused, nonetheless, on himself! Americans can’t find the U.S. on a map! Narcissus can’t find is own behind! He is so lost in his image that he is out of touch with his physicality. Even the model of an “intellectual” is screwed!

How are our children expected to learning in this environment?

“It will take time to restore chaos,” said the King!

So imagine a huge screen and viewers from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia just watching and laughing their hearts out. Americans have become the best show on Earth.